The Midwifery Council of NZ is updating its Midwifery Scope of Practice guidance for midwives to entirely remove the words ‘mother’ and ‘woman’.
Health researcher and former midwife Dr Sarah Donovan says the move is likely to be out of step with public expectations in New Zealand about the profession of midwifery, including how it describes who it cares for.
With midwifery arguably the most woman-centred and mother-centred of all health professions, Donovan says clarification is needed on what evidence base and advice underpinned the Midwifery Council’s decision to remove these words entirely. The words ‘wahine’ and ‘māmā’, used almost universally in other maternity care material in New Zealand are also not used anywhere in the English language version of the document. The lack of these words seems conspicuous considering the inclusion of te reo in the English version for other terms.
The previous version of the NZ Midwives Scope of Practice document referred to women and mothers throughout https://midwiferycouncil.health.nz/Public/01.-Midwifery-in-Aotearoa-New-Zealand/The-Midwifery-Scope-of-Practice.aspx?WebsiteKey=f0308050-1256-4559-908a-2c0b3a7fd7e5
The revised Scope of Practice document is open for consultation until 21 November and feedback can be provided via The Midwifery Council’s webpage: https://midwiferycouncil.health.nz/Public/10.-Aotearoa-Midwifery-Project/Aotearoa-Midwifery-Project-Scope-of-Practice.aspx